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U.S. EPA orders Thomas Carpenter to restore impacts to the Sacramento River

Release Date: 02/08/2007
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, Desk/415.947.4149 Cell/415.760.9161

SAN FRANCISCO -- Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered Thomas Carpenter of Carpenter Excavation to stop dumping dredged and fill material – including concrete, soil and debris – into the Sacramento River, a violation of the Clean Water Act.

In addition, the order requires the company to develop a site restoration plan to remove unauthorized material and restore the area to its previous condition. The illegal dumping occurred at a parcel owned by Carpenter, approximately 10 miles west of Chico, Calif., which is surrounded by the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge.

“We are particularly concerned with impacts to the river, given the proximity to the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge and other key conservation lands,” said Alexis Strauss, director of the EPA's Water Division for the Pacific Southwest region. “We will oversee restoration of this damaged site and protection of this important water resource, and ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act.”

Failure to comply with the order could result in fines of up to $32,500 per day, per violation.

In March 2006, Carpenter applied for but never received Clean Water Act authorization to discharge into U.S. waters, and later withdrew the permit request. Between June 2006 and December 2006, the California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service observed multiple violations of the Clean Water Act.

In January, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ordered Carpenter to stop all dumping activities in the Sacramento River and remove all rubble or fill material to a site at least 150 feet away from the river. Following the order, the EPA, in conjunction with the aforementioned agencies, inspected the site and observed concrete, soil and debris in the Sacramento River and along the river bank.

The Clean Water Act prohibits the placement of dredged or fill materials into wetlands, rivers, streams and other waters of the United States without a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. For more information on the EPA’s permit program, visit: